Highlife lovers, friends and well-wishers of veteran singer, Pa Chris Ajilo, have paid tributes to the nonagenarian who died on Saturday.
According to reports, Ajilo died at Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa, Osun State.
His friend and protégé, Jimi Solanke, described his passing as painful and also said he would set up a statue of the “Eko O Gba Gbere” crooner in the centre he is building in his hometown.
Solanke said, “Uncle Chris, which is how I call him, was a great mentor to me in the area of bandmanship. I played with him as a member of his band, Chris Ajilo and Cubano. He was a good teacher, a great educator. He was very intelligent and talented and I learnt a lot from him because in those days when you play with a highlife band, you must know classical songs.
“Ironically, he called me a while back and we had a lovely chat but I didn’t know we would not be talking to each other again. I was at his 90th birthday (event) back at Ijebu-Ijesha. He will still be great after his death because he trained a lot of people who will always remember him. As for me, I will have a statue in a centre I’m setting up in honour of Pa Chris Ajilo.”
Veteran play director and storyteller, Tunji Sotimirin, also described Ajilo as a very dedicated and highly disciplined artiste
He said, “Pa Chris Ajilo was a very dedicated and highly disciplined artiste. I remember when I was looking for a label for my music, I went to see him and he insisted that I needed to do certain things in the spotlight. He was very upright and professional. He was such an outstanding musician and he maintained a sense of integrity and professionalism throughout his career. I will remember him for his dedication to his craft as a musician and for encouraging the younger ones. His focus was not to make money; his focus was to record, deliver good service and for posterity and he maintained that to his final day on earth. When I saw the news on Facebook, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I needed to confirm. Baba grew old enough for us to celebrate him and we will forever appreciate his contributions to the music world.”